Manager: Ned Yost, fifth year
Last 10 games: 6-4
Who to watch: 1B Eric Hosmer (.301/.348/.373, 6 doubles, 6 RBIs); LF Alex Gordon (.275/.314/.413, 9 XBH, 11 RBIs); RHP James Shields (2-2, 1.91 ERA, 35 K); RHP Yordano Ventura (1-1, 2.65 ERA, .190 BAA)
Season series vs. O’s (2013): 4-3, 28 runs scored, 26 runs allowed
April 25: Yordano Ventura vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 7 p.m., MASN HD
April 26: Jeremy Guthrie vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 7 p.m., MASN HD
April 27: James Shields vs. Miguel Gonzalez, 1:30 p.m., MASN HD
If you like pitching, the Royals will give you plenty of reasons to tune in to this weekend’s series at Camden Yards.
Kansas City comes to Baltimore owning the American League’s second-best ERA with a 3.31 mark through 21 games. The Royals boast balance between a rotation that has posted a 3.27 ERA and a bullpen that has pitched to a 3.40 ERA thus far, helping to compensate for an offense that has scored 75 runs, second-fewest in the AL.
Exciting rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura, 22, will be on the mound in the first game against the Orioles, going up against Ubaldo Jimenez. Kansas City then sends Jeremy Guthrie to the mound against his former team on Saturday before ace James Shields starts on Sunday. Shields owns a 1.91 ERA and has struck out 35 in 33 innings through five starts.
The Royals have been light on offense with first baseman Eric Hosmer and shortstop Alcides Escobar being the only regulars batting over .300. Outfielder Alex Gordon has been solid with 11 RBIs. Third baseman Mike Moustakas has also driven in 11 runs to go with four homers, but is batting just .153.
This weekend, Kansas City will also get to see old friend David Lough for the first time since dealing the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year candidate to the Orioles for Danny Valencia over the winter.
Even though the Royals are having trouble pushing runs across, they’re 10-11 because of an outstanding pitching staff that should be a difficult matchup for the heating Orioles’ bats.